When looking for early-stage companies to invest in, a good place to go is Republic. The company operates one of the largest crowd equity platforms, allowing anybody to participate. In fact, some deals have a minimum investment of only $10.
This means that the equity is not allocated to you until there is a trigger event, such as a funding or acquisition. There are often perks like access to early betas, meetings with the founders and discounts.
Yet it’s important to keep in mind that investing in early-stage companies is risky. The fact is that many ultimately fail. So before making a decision, make sure you have done your own due diligence.
OK then, what are some of the interesting deals on the Republic platform? Let’s take a look at three:
Ian Eyberg is a software engineer with deep experience with languages like Go, Java and Ruby. He has also worked at various tech startups, like Appthority (an enterprise mobile security operator) and has several patents to his name.
What next then? He has started NanoVMs, which is focused on developing a so-called unikernel. This allows for breaking down an app into smaller pieces, which are more secure and do not need the support of traditional operating systems like Linux or Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows. The result is that there are no users or shell logins. NanoVMs is also deployable on Amazon’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) AWS cloud, Alphabet’s (NASDAQ:GOOGL, NASDAQ:GOOG) cloud platform and private cloud systems.
Yes, when it comes to companies to invest in on Republic, this one is heavily technical — but NanoVMs should help solve some tough problems for enterprise IT environments. After all, security breaches can easily cost millions of dollars, not to mention have a negative impact on the brand and customer loyalty.
NanoVMs has put together trials for Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) and the US Air Force. The company has also raised $1.5 million in venture capital from firms like Bloomberg Beta and Hack VC. In other words, the funding on Republic is likely to be more than just about money — that is, it could be a way to provide more visibility for the platform. And so far, NanoVMs has raised $171,428 from 840 investors for its crowd equity campaign.
Don Stein had few contacts when came to Silicon Valley after his college graduation. But he set out to build a strong network. To this end, he was able to meet with a top angel investor who helped him put together a small fund to seek out companies to invest in. But interestingly enough, while doing this, he came up with an idea for his own startup: an app to help create virtual events.
His background in investing definitely helped. He was able to raise $2.4 million from investors like Niko Bonatsos, a managing director at General Catalyst, and Gene Munster, who is a manager partner at Loup Ventures, which created the Loup Frontier Tech Index, the gauge tracked by the Innovator Loup Frontier Tech ETF (NYSEArca:LOUP).
As for the app, Teooh provides different options for virtual events. They span from small ones, such as the Virtual Mastermind, to larger offerings like Virtual Meetup (where there are up to 100 attendees). Once this is done, you then invite people via social media.
What about the business model? Teooh makes money with a pay-as-you-go approach, which has a $1.99 charge per attendee and a 20% take of the ticket sales.
And as for the crowdfunding campaign, the company has been able to raise nearly $500,000 from over 1,300 investors.
Among the companies to invest in on Republic, there are some that have solutions that could help deal with the stay-home impact of the novel coronavirus. One of the more interesting ones is Hearo.Live, which is a mobile app that allows you to chat while watching movies, games, shows, Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) streaming and so on.
The company certainly has a veteran team. CEO Edward Lerner developed the first 3D game for Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:EA) and Dwight Kwok was the general manager in Greater China for Xsolla.
Keep in mind that Hearo.Live is free to download and is available on iOS and Android. The app is also fairly intuitive. You search for something to watch and then invite your friends to chat. Each user has a personalized avatar.
While still in the early stages, Hearo.Live has been showing traction. For the first quarter, there was a 75% jump in app growth and the average user spent more than 20 minutes on the platform.
Hearo.Live has already raised $1.8 million from venture capitalists, such as 500 Startups. And as for the crowd equity funding, the company has received interest from over 740 investors for more than $223,000.
Tom Taulli (@ttaulli) is the author of various books on investing and technology, including Artificial Intelligence Basics, High-Profit IPO Strategies and All About Short Selling. He is also the founder of WebIPO, which was one of the first platforms for public offerings during the 1990s. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.
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